Ljubinko Radenković

Institute for Balkan Studies Serbian Academy of Sciences and ArtsBelgrade

Bread in the Folk Culture of the Serbs In Its Pan–Slavic Context

Abstract: The Slavs do not consider bread to be a common foodstuff, but a sacred object,a symbol of wealth and happiness. Almost all significant rituals (holidays, rites from the life cycle of a person, occasional magical activities) use bread. In some of them,such as marriages or the Serbian holiday krsna slava, it is the main ritual object, which has great symbolic value. This paper addresses the use of bread in the ritual behavior of the Serbs and related peoples, where bread has the characteristics of a symbol and therefore gains a communicative function (it is used to convey or to receive information). It is also points out that the symbolic function of bread changes depending on the grain used to make it, whether it is leavened or unleavened, and the shape of it.

Keywords: bread, rituals, customs, folk culture, Serbs, Slavs